Traditionally, fourth and last Adidas Next Generation Tournament will take place in Belgrade, Serbia. This year it will be played from 22nd until 24th February in Zeleznik hall. KK Crvena Zvezda is host of this qualification tournament, and, as usual, one of main title contenders, since they have 8 year long winning streak on this ANGT.
Beside KK Crvena Zvezda, second Serbian team that will play on this tournament is KK Mega Bemax. Other teams participating are:
Olympiakos, Cedevita, Umana Reyer Venezia, Fenerbahce, OKK Spars and Olimpija Ljubljana.
When it comes to Serbian players, ones who will have major roles in their teams are:
ALEKSANDAR LANGOVIĆ- ’01, 6’9, PF, Mega Bemax
One of top prospects that will play on this tournament, without any doubts. This will be second ANGT Belgrade for Mega’s forward, last year he had 11.9ppg and 8.1. This year, Langović is having great season so far. Has 21.3ppg and 8.3rpg in Serbian U19 league, where he played only 6 games, though. 6’9 forward is also playing for OKK Beograd in Serbian 1st senior league. Regardless it is his first senior season, he puts more than solid numbers- 8.2ppg and 5.3rpg. Langovic kept improving his already good athletic abilities, runs the floor well, moves fluidly, has high level of mobility and above average vertical leap for his size. He is still big threat from both inside and outside, can dribble the ball and drive from perimeter but limited only to left side drives at the moment. Improves continuously his 3p and long range shot, but it still has ups and downs. On the other hand, inside game is more constant, still relies mostly on left hand in finishing, but post skills are becoming more versatile. Strong finisher inside the paint, good above the rim, dunks the ball anytime when it is possible. On defensive end, he should not have any major problems at this tournament. He can defend guards when switches in defense, thanks to good footwork and quickness, inside the paint, he can have slight problems with stronger bigs, but other than that, he is expected to be a real rim protector for his team.
MIHAILO MUŠIKIĆ, ’02, 6’11, C, Mega Bemax
Regardless being underaged and rookie at ANGT tournaments, Mušikić is expected to have decent role inside the paint for his team. Elite sized big is playing again in two categories this year. In U19 league where he plays with two years older player he lacks of consistency, but still averages 8.9 ppg and only 3.9 rpg. In U17 league he plays way better and, at the moment, he has 16.7ppg and 7.4rpg, with 2.5apg, too. Mušikić can have huge contribution to his team offense with mixture of his size, post skillset, soft touch, ability to finish with both hands above the rim, but to shoot the ball from perimeter when wide open, as well. Lack of body strength and athleticism are biggest issues right now. Gets pushed out from the paint when attacks stronger bigs, but also has problems when guards them due to lack of strength. When it comes to athletic part, has really slow legs, which doesn’t allow him to outruns his opponents nor to switch with guards in defense. Mobility is improving but it needs a lot of work to get to an elite level. It will be interesting to watch him competing with other European bigs, after having only average performances at U16 EC in 2018.
BOŠKO BUMBIĆ, ’01, 6’3, PG, Mega Bemax
Newcomer in Mega Bemax and on ANGT tournaments, too. Bumbić is a PG with very high basketball IQ and creative skills. Had knee surgery during the summer so his athleticism, speed and quickness are on really low level at the moment. Regardless that, he is very smart ballhandler, very poised offensivelly, good decision maker and creative passer. Uses PnR very well, can shoot off the dribble both 2p and 3p shots, but also to find open shooters or rolling big guys. Good shooter off the catch, too.Plays this season with a lot of ups and downs, but it can be connected with adapting to new team and coming out of the bad injury. Has averages of 6.4ppg, 4.4apg and 3.7rpg as a starting PG for Mega Bemax in U19.
NEMANJA POPOVIĆ, ’01, 6’8, PF, KK Crvena Zvezda
Another big name on this tournament. Popović is very talented all around forward. Very well sized, with great wingspan and athletic predispositions. This year’s tournament will be his second ANGT. Had 7.5ppg and 4rpg in last edition of the tournament. Improved a lot since last February, specially in terms of toughness, strength and shooting accuracy. 6’8 forward started playing a lot outside, attacks from perimeter more often and has more freedom to take 3p shots. Still needs ton of work on his shot, which can be considered as his major weakness, but it is better than it used to be. Very smart decision maker, both when drives or when posts up his defenders. Has nicely polished low post skillset, can finish with either hand above the rim thanks to good length and athletic abilities. Defensively, can cover all positions, can switch with guards but also to backs down with bigs around the paint. Just like Langovic, he has also played his first senior season this year, in 2nd division, where he averaged 9.8ppg and 6.8rpg. Beside that, has 13.5ppg, 5.5rpg and 3.6apg at the moment in U19 league. Popović spent weekend before the tournament as a participant of NBA Global Camp in Charlotte.
LAZAR VASIĆ, ’01, 6’4, PG, KK Crvena Zvezda
Quick and aggressive PG will also play his second ANGT this February. Didn’t have huge numbers last year, averaged only 5.7ppg and 3apg for 27 minutes on the court. However this year, Vasic is one of the team leaders, has 11.1ppg, 3.2apg and 4.4rpg in U19 league. He has great motor and high level of energy which he provides on both ends. Good team player, does anything team needs. Offensivelly, good spot up and transition shooter, creative off the PnR, both for himself and for his teammates. Solid driver, can go both sides, quick first step helps him blow by his opponents. Has important impact on team D, but primary very aggressive on ball defender. Lack of size might be major issue for higher level.
NIKOLA MANOJLOVIĆ, ’02, 6’6, SG, KK Crvena Zvezda
Offensive minded guard/wing won’t be a first option in KK Crvena Zvezda’s offense, but is clearly one of the players that shouldn’t be overlooked. The best player of U17 KK Crvena Zvezda team, where he has 18ppg, 7.7rpg and 5.9apg. Very poised in offense, smart decision maker and all around attacker. Good shooter, specially off the catch and bounce. Solid driver, mostly thanks to his pace changing abilities and long first step. Good body control helps him in traffic and in contact finishes, regardless lack of athletic abilities. Can play as a primarly ball handler, but usually plays as a secondary guard or even a wing. Has great rebounding abilities for his size and position he plays. Manojlović was top scorer of Serbian U16 NT.
ALEKSEJ POKUŠEVSKI, ’01, 6’11, SF, Olympiakos
Second ANGT for the only Serbian player who will play for foreign team on this tournament. Last year in Munich, he had 10ppg, 4.7rpg and 2.3 apg. This year he will be a leader of his team. Elite sized forward is already practising with Olympiakos first team and is expected to make first team debut sooner or later. Knowing that, he should be one of the main players at this tournament. 6’11 primarly a SF can play on almost all positions. Has great ball handling skills for that size, can even play as a primary ball handler thanks to good court vision, passing and organising skills. Beside that, he has tremendeous length and wingspan, but also very decent mid and long range shot. Thin frame and lack of body strength are biggest problems at this stage. Could be better defender, overall, as well. Pokuševski was supposed to be a participant of NBA Global Camp, alongside Nemanja Popovic, but didn’t go to Charlotte due administration problems.
Other notable players:
Marko Brekić, ’01, 6’6, PF, Mega Bemax
Nikola Jović, ’03, 6’6, SF, Mega Bemax
Marko Pavićević, ’01, 6’9, C, KK Crvena Zvezda
Stevan Karapandžić, ’01, 6’3, PG, KK Crvena Zvezda
Lazar Živanović, ’01, 6’7, SG, KK Crvena Zvezda